I Voted for Trump, Not Bannon or Kushner

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 January 5, 2018|
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Steve Bannon was a man of vision,” the columnist David P. Goldman told Alex Marlow of Breitbart News in August. Certainly. Goldman also is sound in his belief that “the loss of [Bannon’s] counsel to the president will hurt the United States.”

Bannon was the only one in the public eye warning of the economic threat China poses to the United States. He had tapped into the nationalist-populist zeitgeist that was bubbling to the surface years before working for Donald Trump. And, regardless what the White House may claim today, there can be little doubt that Bannon was a crucial player in Donald Trump’s victory (though, Trump is right: only Trump is ultimately responsible for his win in 2016).

The same thing could be said of President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner: he played a crucial part in Trump’s election. I never took the easy line of castigating the president for placing his son-in-law in a position of high responsibility—despite having several more qualified (at least on paper) people available.

Fact is, Kushner has accomplished successfully almost every task he’s been given. The president credited Kushner with the brilliant diplomatic move of selling arms to Saudi Arabia. This move shored up Saudi Arabia’s support for the administration’s vital efforts to contain Iran. Also, the president claims Kushner has played a large role in renewing our relationship with Israel.

But keep this in mind: many of Kushner’s efforts weren’t peculiar to him. The idea of selling arms to Saudi Arabia, for example, was in keeping with decades of U.S. foreign policy decisions in the Mideast. Meanwhile, the decision to shore up U.S.-Israeli relations was a no-brainer after eight years of malign-neglect under the Obama Administration. In other words, Kushner did not bring anything innovative or new to the table. He simply mimicked what other, more experienced people have done before him.

Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” is the talk of the town this week. Wolff reports, among other things, that President Trump is “childlike” and that he and his administration “lurch” from crisis-to-crisis each day—particularly before the arrival of former Marine Corps General John Kelly as White House chief of staff. Many people blame Steve Bannon for much of the chaos that stunted progress for months at the beginning of Trump’s historic presidency.

However, we mustn’t forget that much of the chaos that the administration endured early on was due to the fact that Jared Kushner was on the warpath against Bannon and his economic nationalists (to say nothing of the ongoing “deep state” assault on Trump’s legitimacy as president). It was Kushner who aligned early on with the Goldman Sachs folks (who now dominate the Trump Administration’s economic policy shop). The financiers from Wall Street are democratic globalists, who are naturally at odds with economic nationalists. Bannon’s ouster was the inevitable result of the infighting. Bannon also took on the Republican establishment in Congress, as he was fighting against the democratic globalists in the White House.

All in all, Bannon simply made too many enemies in Washington. Clearly, Bannon was not an exceptionally skilled bureaucratic infighter (he was a self-admitted “street fighter”). In fact, Bannon’s problem was likely that he was too honest about his intentions for his own good.

President Trump says that Bannon is “crazy” (not so), and that he’s only in it for himself. Maybe so. One needs a bit of an ego in this business to make it. But, the one thing we should never deny is that Bannon and his economic nationalists were critical for Trump’s victory in 2016 because President Trump’s populist message was largely one of economic nationalism. To abandon that message, and those who believe in that message, would be dangerous going into the 2018 midterms.

What’s more, President Trump needs to understand that Kushner’s purported financial improprieties are fueling Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump Administration at this point. They—not Bannon (or economic nationalism)—are to blame for Trump’s current predicament. Trump should remember these truths and keep his ire trained on those in the White House responsible for the missteps of the administration’s first year.

So, while I appreciate Bannon’s worldview, I didn’t vote for him on November 4, 2016. I didn’t vote for Jared Kushner, either. I voted for Donald Trump. And, for the most part, I’ve been made very happy with that vote.

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About the Author:

Brandon J. Weichert
Brandon J. Weichert is a contributing editor to American Greatness. A former Republican congressional staffer and national security expert, he also runs "The Weichert Report" (www.theweichertreport.com), an online journal of geopolitics. He holds master's degree in statecraft and national security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He is also an associate member of New College at Oxford University and holds a B.A. in political science from DePaul University. He is currently completing a book on national security space policy due out next year.
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19 Comments

  1. Altalena January 5, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    It’s the old Sam Levenson routine, updated: “Hit the boy next to Trump, and that will frighten Trump.” Every administration has infighting and intriguing by underlings; Lincoln probably had more. Who cares? Dow over 25K, 4th quarter GDP circa 3.97, 130,000 new jobs in December, unemployment down at 4.1. Everything else is peripheral nonsense.

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  2. BCML January 5, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    How could anyone admit to voting for Trump?

    • hamburgertoday2017 January 5, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      Hahahahahaha. What? You voted for Hillary Clinton? Who would admit to that?

      • Marshall Gill January 7, 2018 at 5:03 am

        Only someone who is utterly deplorable.

      • BCML January 8, 2018 at 5:49 am

        A majority of Americans who voted. By about 3 million.

    • Sam McGowan January 7, 2018 at 10:56 pm

      Because of the alternative. The only good thing – now – about Trump’s win is that it prevented the alternative, Hillary Clinton in the White House and the Democrats in control of the Executive Branch.

      • BCML January 8, 2018 at 5:48 am

        And you think this amoral insane chaos is better?

  3. Scott January 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    They can fight all they like I could care less. The main thing is the main thing. Hillary Rotten Clinton is not POTUS thanks to President Trump 🦅🇺🇸

    • Sam McGowan January 7, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      You got it!

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  4. colleenaplin January 5, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    “What’s more, President Trump needs to understand that Kushner’s purported financial improprieties are fueling Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump Administration at this point”

    You know this with certainty, analyzing and filtering fake media reporting over the last year? Do you have some inside knowledge to back that up?

  5. Moritz Thomas January 6, 2018 at 3:55 am

    “What’s more, President Trump needs to understand that Kushner’s purported financial improprieties are fueling Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump Administration at this point”- You know this with certainty, after analyzing and filtering out fake media reporting over the last year? Do you have some inside knowledge to back that up?”Bannon was the only one in the public eye warning of the economic threat China poses to the United States”- He wasn’t very effective in my view, and his presentation in a general sense was too combative and fell into certain media stereotypes

  6. Alex M January 6, 2018 at 7:56 am

    I didn’t vote for amnesty, but that’s what the person I voted for is pushing on me. How do you explain that? And that’s the flaw with your “I voted for x, not y or z” logic.

  7. Beauceron January 6, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    You may have voted for Trump, but it was mostly Bannon’s words and ideas that won the election.

    I see Trump moving towards the standard GOP establishment line on pretty much everything. He certainly did on taxes and foreign affairs.

    I did not vote for the GOP establishment line– in fact I have come to loathe it nearly as much as I do the Democrats. I’ll wait and see what he does on immigration– I suspect what we’ll get is what we always get from the Republican dirtbags on immigration: mass immigration, amnestying illegals, and some vague promises that this time, they swear, they’ll probably, maybe do some enforcement.

    The GOP Chamber of Commerce boys get their cheap labor and become richer, the Democrats get their votes and their inevitable permanent majority– and America and its citizens get screwed by the elite once again.

    Well done, I guess.

    • Alex M January 6, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      Agreed. Once Trump is crowned as the DACA Don, people’s eyes will begin to open up to what is really going on.

  8. RAM500 January 6, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Bannon wanted to create and lead a movement. Trump wanted to get things done. Bannon’s style, if he had maintained a position of influence, would ultimately have led to nothing getting done.

    • Sam McGowan January 7, 2018 at 10:53 pm

      What, exactly, has Trump done?

  9. Sam McGowan January 7, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    When I saw this article, I thought it was going to be bashing Bannon like the pseudo-conservatives are doing. I was pleasantly surprised. As I see it, Donald Trump is in the White House largely thanks to Bannon. Unfortunately, Trump forgot about the “forgotten Americans” who put him in office on the night of November 8 as soon as it became apparent he had won. Bannon realized that and tried his best to stand up for us, but was forced out, which is why he shed tears. I voted for Donald Trump not so much because I believe in him as that I didn’t want to see the Democrats remain in control of the Executive Branch and couldn’t bear the idea of Hillary Clinton becoming head of it. I voted more against Hillary than I did for Trump. As for my support for Trump, I didn’t vote for him in the Texas primary. In fact, I voted for Jeb Bush – I voted early before he withdrew – mainly because I detest Ted Cruz, who isn’t even eligible to be president. (He was born in Canada and spent his first four years there – and has yet to release his citizenship papers.) I’m afraid Bannon was this country’s last real hope. Yes, he told Roger Ailes that Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Russians was a mistake and he (correctly) pointed out that Mueller is going after Trump by pursuing the money laundering track, but he was merely calling a spade a spade. This truly was the Flight 93 election but I’m afraid Flight 93 has already ended up like the real Flight 93 did, in a smoking hole.

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